Explosion topples Connecticut church; pastor, family evacuated safely from adjacent home

Friday, September 10th 2004, 11:20 am
By: News On 6

COLCHESTER, Conn. (AP) _ A powerful blast leveled a decades-old Ukrainian church early Friday, shaking nearby buildings and tossing debris hundreds of feet. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the 7 a.m. explosion at St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church was not immediately clear. The brick building had an indoor propane tank for cooking, state police Sgt. J. Paul Vance said.

The area was cordoned off and the nearby highway was shut down, Vance said.

The pastor and his family were safely evacuated from their adjacent home, said the Rev. Michael Dubovici, of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford, the seat of the church's diocese.

The church, built in 1955, serves 55 families. Members had been preparing for a Ukrainian festival in Stamford this weekend.

Colchester, a town of 4,500, is about 20 miles southeast of Hartford.